Two Poems by Elisabeth Horan

Pain is Just Another Word

All this pain is icicle-white and drips
in my eyes when I stare at the sun;

I’m checking to see if God came back,
yet somehow I already know – He didn’t.

Pain is another word for a drain.
Like when I watch the grey water swirl –

A mini-eddy of suds and razor stubble –
disgusting hair and flem and spunk –

I hate it all and I am disgusted
by my humanity; it feels similar to when

The regurgitated chum of unwanted sexuality
whorled past my tongue, shaking hands with an

Acid-eaten esophagus, trailing blood like wine,
corked with only a tampon – and I am

Nauseated by my smell and myself,
but perhaps more intact in some primordial way.

It feels like the animalistic instinct
to eat one’s own afterbirth; to hide

Away the scent of something he covets…
from the puma, who is coming –

His paws enormous – precise, determined.
As is my pain – of knowing I am his prey.

As are the whorls, the icicles –
so irresponsible with their tears of silver.

As is God. Lest He has forgotten
the sound of my name.


The Walking Wounded

They move along the river:
in droves; in droves.

Their bloody stares seek
a stranger for help;

Assistance. Amputation.
Her shredded limb –

Which hangs -from hardly (a)
ball joint.

No one is moving a muscle
except for

The muscle, which swings
in the breeze, an

Inside exposed – jaws agape
over the shore;

Snipes even fearful
of what they don’t know – flit

From hedge
and alight upon them.

Who, then –
shall take this Jane Doe in?

Her wound offends you – as if was her fault
for absorbing

The blow – the first salvo,
in which a very many died.

Shall she be dead to you – for her fate
of surviving;

Look at the bone exposed: in droves,
in droves –

Not yet gone they walk the road:
#_______ victims.



Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. She has work featured at Hedgehog Poetry, Moonchild Magazine, Former Cactus, TERSE. Journal, Blanket Sea and Milk & Beans. @ehoranpoet


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